The simple fact that, when looking back on what you did, it is very clear what you should have or could have done instead and made things work out infinitely better.

Unlike the future, the recent past is literally and figuratively an open book to us - we see it with the clarity of having seen its consequences as well, and 20/20 is simply another way of expressing that clarity. It is a measure of what is considered normal eyesight. If you have 20/40 vision, you have to stand 20 feet from a sign to read it, while a normal person could stand at 40 feet and read it.
In some writings of fantasy, there are beings that see the future with clarity, but have no memories of the past - once an event has happened, they have no knowledge of it (see foregoblin). Foresight is 20/20.

"You're not doing it either," she said.

This is not what happened.

I don't actually think this quickly on my feet, but from the safety of distance and time, I can admit I usually get bogged down in relatively insignificant details. We would go into a discussion examining the minutiae of any given situation, perhaps pouring over every minor detail, all the while missing the forest for the trees. Now from the convenience of distance, I can attempt to find the forest, but what is it I'm looking for? What can I bring back to the circle that doesn't just send us into the depths of more unimportant details? Were there general principles that could be learned and applied in other situations?

"I don't like the way you're doing this."

"I don't like the way you're doing that."

It seemed to attach the problem to the person, which makes them defensive. Maybe that's what I've been failing to do - treat these problems as a common enemy we are both fighting, rather than treating situations as a fight between the two of us. Draw the frame around the two of us, on the inside, battling the forces outside the frame.

List common enemies, brainstorm ways to combat them. One common enemy: unhappiness in those around us. Another common enemy: what we saw as stagnation and lack of progress. We'll need to jointly come up with some more. Instead of two rivers crashing into one another, they need to merge and travel down a new direction, more powerful than before.

Zoom out of the forest, find a different set of trees, focus on that instead. And maybe try to find a way to condense it all into a single thought, rather than some lengthy, convoluted series of associations. Something easy to remember. Name it, label it, draw a picture, draw a symbol, write a theme song, who knows.

"One world, one humanity, we're all in this together."

Well, if we could actually get that to work, we wouldn't have to avoid watching the news. Perhaps the correct frame does exist, but is so faint, and the paths and patterns of thought that lead to it are so rarely used, that few ever make it there, much less return and tell us of their travels up that mountain.

I guess the difference between a throwaway thought and an ideology is that one is a set of footprints across fresh grass, while the other has been worn into a ravine. Time to go stomping on some grass today, I think. Even if my frame is shoddy, it may help others perfect it later.

Deep are the thoughts that branch off familiar territory.

Deep are the waters that follow.

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